Swiss stocks were little changed as Givaudan SA advanced, offsetting a report that showed factory orders in Germany slid more than forecast.
Nestle SA, the world’s largest food company, declined 1 percent. Belimo Holding AG dropped 2.3 percent as sales missed analysts’ estimates. Givaudan, the biggest maker of flavors and fragrances, gained 1.2 percent.
The Swiss Market Index slipped less than 0.1 percent to 6,457.85 at the close of trading in Zurich. The benchmark gauge has still jumped 13 percent from its 2012 low on June 4 as policy makers eased repayment terms for Spanish lenders and central banks took steps to stimulate economic growth. The broader Swiss Performance Index was almost unchanged today.
“Macro data have been coming in quite mixed,” said Christian Zogg, who manages about $540 million at LLB Asset Management in Vaduz, Liechtenstein. “Sentiment seems to be quite positive at the moment as the situation in Greece doesn’t look so precarious -- though I don’t think it will stay that way for long. The debt crisis could escalate anytime again and we expect further weakening of global growth, which could weigh on markets in the coming months.”
The volume of shares changing hands on SMI companies was 23 percent lower than the average of the past 30 days, data compiled by Bloomberg showed.
Factory orders in Germany, Europe’s largest economy, declined more than twice as much as economists forecast in June as sales to euro-area countries slumped. Orders, adjusted for seasonal swings and inflation, dropped 1.7 percent from May, when they rose 0.7 percent, the Economy Ministry said today. Economists forecast a 0.8 percent drop, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey.
Italy’s economy contracted for a fourth straight quarter in the three months through June amid an intensifying euro-area debt crisis. Gross domestic product declined 0.7 percent in the second quarter, Rome-based national statistics institute Istat said in a preliminary report today. The contraction was less than the median forecast for a 0.8 percent decline in a survey of 22 economists by Bloomberg News.
The Swiss National Bank’s foreign currency reserves jumped to a record 406.5 billion Swiss francs ($420 billion) in July compared with 365.1 billion a month earlier, indicating the bank bought euros to defend the cap on the franc.
A separate report today showed that Swiss unemployment remained steady in July, suggesting the economy is holding up in the face of a worsening European fiscal crisis.
Nestle, which accounts for 25 of the SMI by weighting, declined 1 percent to 59.70 francs, for the biggest drag on the benchmark index.
Belimo Holding fell 2.3 percent to 1,696 francs after the maker of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning equipment reported first-half sales of 217.5 million francs, missing the average analyst estimate of 228 francs.
Givaudan gained 1.2 percent to 920 francs, posting the best performance on the SMI.
Nobel Biocare Holding AG, the world’s second-biggest maker of dental implants, jumped 1.3 percent to 9.05 francs.